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07-27-2009, 11:01 AM   #1
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how small is too small?

We know that Pentax has a niche in the ltd primes and that many prefer a small lens. But is there a point at which small becomes too small?

I know that in general there is a lower limit for size wrt usability (ie a cell phone can only get so small before it becomes difficult to dial/use). One thing that I find is that a really short/small lens doesn't really handle/balance as well as one that is "ideal."

This is a totally subjective criteria, and of course there are trade-offs for any lens. I don't have a 40/2.8 but did use a 21/3.2 for awhile and found that the body "felt funny" in my hands. There wasn't any counterbalance weight in front so the body felt tail-heavy. Seems the 40 would be even worse (again, to me). With the K20d, I find that the 35ltd and 77ltd provide about perfect balance for one-handed carrying and shooting. The 31 is a tad nose heavy, and anything bigger (16-50, 50-135, etc) is a different beast where you're two-handed.

Anyone else find that there is a lower limit to lens size wrt handling/balance?

07-27-2009, 11:11 AM   #2
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if she laughs, its too small...

on a more serious note, if i can comfortably manual focus it, its not too small.
07-27-2009, 11:30 AM   #3

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I have the fish-eye-takumar 18mm (terrible IQ by the way) but fun for just that reason. and I find that it is indeed too small. I have in fact slammed my grubby fingers right into the front element reaching for the aperture ring. (it has no focusing ring) oddly enough it seems better balanced to me on my digital bodies than my film bodies. but keep in mind I have a k110D and a k-m. (a istD on the way) no big honking K10 or 20 with battery grip.

07-27-2009, 12:05 PM   #4
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at one time I complained that pentax suffers from the "M-Series" disease.

There was a lot of competition between pentax and olympus to produce the smallest lightest 35mm SLR in the world

The M series cameras and lenses went in this direction, and while some of them were very good, there were some trade off's.

the 85mm went from F1.8 to F2, the 135mm F2.5 disappeared, the 200 F2.5 disappeared etc.......

although faster lenses appeared in the A series, the M series in my mind was targeted too far towards the casual shooter. for me the cameras are too small to hang onto properly, even with a 50mm lens

07-27-2009, 12:10 PM   #5
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
although faster lenses appeared in the A series, the M series in my mind was targeted too far towards the casual shooter. for me the cameras are too small to hang onto properly, even with a 50mm lens
For me I find the 77ltd on the K20d to be about "perfect" for balance. The 50-135 also balances fine. I thought the 50-135 was too big for the K7 (and in fact I found the K7 to be too small for the 31ltd), but I'm willing to be that any of the DA ltds would balance better on the K7 than on the K20d.

Then again, I shoot and carry one-handed so balance is a big deal to me. If you have it around your neck or in a bag and shoot two handed I think it might be less of an issue.
07-27-2009, 12:55 PM   #6
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How small is too small as stated above is subjective. Like Lowell, I found some of the M series lenses too small with the M 40/2.8 being the prime example. There is barely enough room for the almost useless focusing ring on that lens. The MX was also too small for my taste but was more than acceptable with the winder attached. The same was true of my K10. I found it was too small for my not overly large hand without the optional battery pack. I had a chance to try the K7 last weekend at Henry’s and was surprised to see it was significantly smaller than the K10 or K 20. It (K7) didn’t seem to be as well built as it predecessors either. Time will tell regarding the durability issues. Smaller isn’t better it’s just smaller. Like Nostatic and Lowell the question of feel and balance is important to me. My K 200/2.5 balances perfectly on the K10 with battery pack. It dwarfed the K7 and felt terrible when I tried it on that camera. I supposed I could get used to it but it would never “feel” right for me.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 07-27-2009 at 12:56 PM. Reason: typo
07-27-2009, 02:36 PM   #7
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K10 felt perfect to me, although a bit short. With battery grip it felt better, but became a bit too tall.

K-7 is way too small on it's own, but with grip is perfect for me. I love it's size.

As for lenses...77ltd is the perfect size/weight for me also. Anything smaller feels too small, and anything bigger feels bulky.

07-27-2009, 02:43 PM   #8
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For a while I thought that 28-75 Tammy is too big for K100D, but now it's pretty much its soulmate, with the FA 35 as the mistress

Personally I find the MZ series body + Grip + M40 to be a really nice combination balance and ergo wise. The K100D + M40 not so much, but still pretty nice. I generally prefer bigger lenses (FA 50 and up) on the K100D.

I have yet to find the perfect match for the ME super... The Tak 28 seems to be its best match for now though.

While the subject is on M-series body, I personally find with the leather case equipped the ME super handles much better than without. I don't enjoy using the grip myself though.

07-27-2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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Well, from my personal experiences, out of the cameras/lenses combinations, the best setup I can put together is:
K10D + grip + DA40 + hood from Sigma 105 via 2 step up rings. And having said that, my hands are not exactly the smallest (K100D was too small for me and K10D without grip feels kind of incomplete)
Honestly, this is my best carry around comobo. I find this really comfortable to carry in one hand, shoot one handed (though I ocasionally do that) but I usually put wrap my left hend around the mount.
This combo is actually one of the biggest reasons why I consider gettin 21ltd very strongly (though I'd have to get different hood as the one from 105 vignettes on lenses wider than 24 on APSC). And if the IQ is close to 40 this lens does really have a strong case....
07-27-2009, 03:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
if she laughs, its too small...

if it ever happened, just say:
it's not the size, it's the performance that counts
07-27-2009, 03:18 PM   #11
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I really considered the size, handling, portability and focal length of the DA 21 Limited to be perfect as a vacation walk-around. There were times I wanted more length, but I could always crop the image afterwards. I really used K200D+DA21 as an advanced point and shoot and it did very well. Great for the one hand self-portraits with the significant other. She really dug into me the day I decided to bring the FA 35mm instead of the 21mm, saying that she didn't like the lens at all. She knows nothing about photography though:P

I've sold all my primes and will be taking strength conditioning classes so I can one hand a K200D and DA* 16-50, heh.
07-27-2009, 03:29 PM   #12
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Yep, it is subjective because our hands are all different sizes. Like the ME the K7 will no doubt appeal to those with smaller hands. I like the K10/20D size a lot especially with the grip which helps to better balance the 16-50 and 300. Still I hope that Pentax will continue to offer the K10/20D size camera body. K30D anyone?
07-27-2009, 03:38 PM   #13
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I think it is all a matter of what you get used to and what you shoot the most. I use the 40ltd and 70ltd the most. If i stick a BIG lens on like the 10-17FE then it does feel a little nose heavy but in general the whole setup just feels heavier. I wouldn't say that it feels unbalanced.

Sure, the 40mm ltd is hard to manual focus but it is an AF lens, so no, it is not too small.

What are you after? One lens size/weight that all lenses should be? Variety is the spice of life.

Is the balance that much of an issue? Does it make your arms ache or something? (i'm not being offensive, i do really want to know).

07-27-2009, 03:57 PM   #14
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I find when it comes to lenses Big becoming to Big way more often then small becoming to small.

Pentax always had small primes .
and with Pentax I think too small is when in order to make the lens smaller it becomes slower

like with most DA lenses Vs FA lenses

20mm FA 2.8 very small lens , 21mm smaller but slower
same with 43 Vs 40 , 77 Vs 70 and so on. all very small lenses but the DA too small BC they are slower

that's the way I see it any way
07-27-2009, 04:08 PM   #15
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It's the tiny size of the ME Super that has me so excited about Pentax. I've been using my husband's (his first slr!) for almost a month and I love it.

I do have tiny hands, though.

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